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allegations (of discrimination)
An assertion of discrimination made by a complainant in a complaint form.

alternative arrangements
An arrangement or change made to accommodate the needs of an individual, based on one of the 13 grounds of discrimination.


Canadian Human Rights Act (the Act)
A federal law that protects all people who are legally in Canada from discrimination by federally regulated employers and service providers.

Canadian Human Rights Commission (the Commission)
An organization that was created by the Canadian Human Rights Act. It is separate and independent from the Government of Canada and the Tribunal.

Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (the Tribunal)
An organization that was created by the Canadian Human Rights Act. It is separate and independent from the Government of Canada and the Commission.

A person who files a discrimination complaint with the Commission.

complaint kit
The complaint kit contains the required forms and instructions for filing a complaint.

corrective measures
An order made by the Tribunal when it finds an organization has been discriminatory. Corrective measures may include making an organization:

  • Change its rules and policies or create human rights policies.
  • Pay the complainant lost wages or give them their job back.
  • Take human rights awareness training.
  • Pay for the complainant's pain and suffering and any losses caused by the discrimination.


Discrimination is an action or a decision that results in the unfair or negative treatment of a person or group, for reasons such as their race or age.

discrimination complaint
A complaint under the Canadian Human Rights Act.

discriminatory practice(s)
The following are examples of discriminatory practices when they are based on one of the grounds of discrimination:

  • Denying someone goods, services, facilities or accommodation.
  • Refusing to employ or continue to employ someone or treating them unfairly in the workplace.
  • Paying men and women differently when they are doing work of the same value.
  • Following policies or practices that deprive people of employment opportunities.
  • Harassing someone.
  • Retaliating against a person who has filed a discrimination complaint with the Commission, acted as a witness or represented the complainant.

duty to accommodate
The Act requires employers and service providers to accommodate peoples' needs, when those needs relate to one of the 13 grounds of discrimination.


Federal Court
The Federal Court is Canada's national trial court that hears and decides legal disputes arising in the federal jurisdiction. This includes claims against the Government of Canada, civil suits in federally regulated areas and challenges to the decisions of federal tribunals.

federally regulated
The Act applies to federally regulated employers and service providers. These include:

  • federal departments, agencies and Crown corporations
  • chartered banks
  • airlines
  • interprovincial communications and telephone companies
  • interprovincial transportation companies, like buses and railways that travel between provinces
  • First Nations governments and some other First Nations organizations
  • other federally regulated industries, like uranium mines


grounds of discrimination
Reasons a person may experience discrimination. There are 13 reasons or 'grounds' that are protected under the Canadian Human Rights Act. This means that federally regulated employers and service providers cannot discriminate against people for these reasons. The 13 grounds of discrimination protected under the Act are:

  • race
  • national or ethnic origin
  • colour
  • religion
  • age
  • sex
  • sexual orientation
  • Gender identity or expression
  • marital status
  • family status
  • Genetic characteristics
  • disability
  • a conviction for which a pardon has been granted or a record suspension has been ordered


human rights officer
A Commission employee who has expertise in human rights and dispute resolution.

human rights policies
Policies that protect human rights. They set guidelines for respectful behaviour and explain how an organization meets their responsibility to respect human rights.


internal dispute resolution process
A procedure (or set of procedures) that an employer, service provider or government institution develops to deal with allegations of discrimination. If an individual raises a human rights concern, the process is in place to address and potentially resolve the concern.


judicial review
If you or the respondent disagrees with a decision made by the Commission or by the Tribunal, you can ask the Federal Court to review the decision. This is called a judicial review.


public interest
A matter is in the public interest when the decision has the potential to clarify, influence, shape or define human rights law.


The person or organization that a discrimination complaint is filed against.

retaliate or retaliation
Threatening, intimidating or treating another person badly because that person filed a discrimination complaint. 


An agreement that outlines what each party involved in a discrimination complaint agreed to do to resolve the dispute.


undue hardship
Circumstances involving cost, health or safety issues that would make it impossible or very difficult for an employer or service provider to meet the duty to accommodate.

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